Baby artichokes with goats cheese, asparagus and baby leeks

Alex McKay combines baby vegetables, plump asparagus and a glorious basil sauce in this tempting and tasty Mediterranean style recipe
By Alex Mackay
Baby artichokes with goats cheese, asparagus and baby leeks
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 200 g goats' cheese, rind removed
  • salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 baby artichokes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 fat spears asparagus
  • 6baby leeks, blanched and halved
  • 20 plum tomatoes
  • 12 pitted black olives, halved
  • 100 g broad beans, blanched

For the basil sauce:

  • 30 g basil
  • 20 g pine kernels
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. To make the basil sauce, boil the basil leaves in a large saucepan of water for 30 seconds. Drain the leaves in a sieve and put them in a large bowl of cold water to refresh them. As soon as they are cold, strain the leaves and squeeze out any excess water.

2. In a food processor, puree the basil, pinenuts, garlic and 35ml of the olive oil, until the mixture forms a slightly textured paste. Pour the remaining olive oil over the surface of the basil and set aside.

3. Set the oven to 190C/gas 5. Mix the goats' cheese with plenty of salt and black pepper. Stuff each of the baby artichoke halves with a small spoonful of this mixture, lay them on a baking sheet and bake them for 5 minutes.

4. Heat a frying pan with a little water, one tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Add the blanched asparagus and baby leeks to the pan and heat them through. At the same time, warm through the baby plum tomatoes, the olives and the broad beans in a separate pan with the remaining olive oil and a little water.

5. When they are warmed through, add 3 tablespoons of the basil sauce and season with salt and black pepper.

6. Toss another tablespoon of the basil sauce with the asparagus and leeks.

7. To serve, put the stuffed artichokes around the outside of each of 4 plates, place the asparagus and baby leeks in the centre and surround with the plum tomato and basil sauce.

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